Friday Mailbag

Friday Mailbag


It's time to dip into the Friday mailbag once again!

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Dear John Facebook,

 I'm sorry, but I need to break up with you.  

Sure, we've had some fun times - sharing photos and poking people and laughing together at funny videos.  But, y'know, it got kinda creepy when you started showing me all those reminders of shopping sites I had visited.  Or when you started stalking me with that constant "how are you feeling?" thing.  But now?  Well, now you're not so fun anymore.  My news feed has become just that . . . a NEWS feed.  And I'm tired of news right now.  And some of your news isn't even REAL.

I'm tired of your algorithms and your prying, so I've decided to take a break.  I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me.  I hope we can still be friends.


Representative Fred Upton
Michigan 6th District

Dear Fred,

Just want to put you on notice:  You're going to be hearing from me on regular basis.  I have opinions, and I want to share them with you.  I know you're a republican, but you're one of the more bi-partisan kinds of republicans.  In theory, at least.  Because, in the end, you do tend to tow the party line most all the time.  (Just sayin.)  I'm proud of you, though, because you were very public in NOT supporting or endorsing you-know-who.  I'm hoping you will continue to be reasonable about what's best for our country (the WHOLE country) (as in all of us) as we move forward.



Dear daffodils and crocus of my garden,

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you're WAY early to the spring party!  Yeah, I know.  The weather has been really weird lately.  I know you're confused.  But, you are way off this year.  And I think you're going to regret it come Saturday.  When the temperature is going to plunge and snow is in the forecast.  So, let's just hold off for a few more months, okay?


Dear Postcrossing,

It's been weeks since I've sent any postcards, I know.  And this is really not very like me at all.  Usually, I have multiple cards out there -- traveling the world -- at any given time.  But now?  Well, what do I even say?  Hello.  My name is Kym and I live in the US and I'm really sorry?  My heart is maybe just too broken to send international postcards right now.  But I'll be back.


Dear family,

I am so pleased that I don't have to set up any political rules of engagement for the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Because we're all in the same boat.  And even though it doesn't feel very good right now, the fact that we're all in the boat together makes me feel pretty good.


And that's it for the mailbag this time!  Enjoy your weekend.

Friday Mailbag

It's been a long time since I dipped into the Friday Mailbag!  Let's have a peek. . . 


Dear Next-Door Neighbors,

For 13 years, you have been the Very Best kind of neighbor:  Respectful.  Private.  Quiet. (Well. Except for that one time when one of your kids got the car alarm stuck at 2:00 in the morning and y'all couldn't turn it off.)  Tasteful landscaping.  Well-mannered guests at your parties.  Non-intrusive in every way. (Well.  Except for the English ivy.)

But your concrete project this fall?  Pushing it.  Because hours of jack-hammering?  Jarring.  Maybe give us a heads-up next time, huh?  (So we can leave, too.)


Dear Gmail Inbox,

Who knew . . . that it would be so easy to KonMari you!  Wow.  All those emails -- years and years of emails -- that I thought I might need or that I was too lazy to delete in the first place . . . GONE.  Just like that.

I feel so much JOY.


Dear Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs,

You're drunk.  Go home.


Dear Blog Friends,

I can't thank you all enough for your words of support and thoughtful wishes and general bolstering of my spirit after my mom's death.  You are all wonderful -- and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Have a great weekend!


Friday Mailbag

February is just chugging right along . . . and I've been (quietly) writing (and mailing) a-letter-a-day all through the month.


It seems appropriate that I should dip into the virtual Friday Mailbag at least once during A Month of Letters, so here goes.


B 6 mos 2

Dear Brian,

How can this be?  Really.  How?  It seems this little guy was . . . just here.  And now?  24!  
So.  Tell me.  How?

P.S.  Happy birthday!  XO


Dear my-20-year-old-body,

I must sincerely apologize.  I simply did not appreciate your being there . . . 36 years ago.  I just had no idea how supple and flexible you really were.  How you could leap out of bed in the morning without aches and pains and groans and moans.  How you could bend and stretch and lift and run and not feel it the next day.  How you could eat pizza and drink beer and follow it up with ice cream and maybe even some cake . . . and not gain an ounce.

I wish I could wake up JUST ONCE and be in your body again.  Just for the morning.  To remember what that felt like, y'know?


Dear Winter,

Mark Torgerossa, MLive Weather Correspondent, assures me that it's going to feel like Spring tomorrow.  Close to 60 degrees (F), he says.  My iPhone forecast agrees.  Warm.  Really warm.  So, Bon Voyage to you, Winter.  At least for today.


Dear Locker Room SLOBS,

Yes.  Our gym has towel service.  Yes.  It's a really nice perk.  Now.  Pick up your used towels and place them in the proper receptacles when you're finished with them.

Because your mother doesn't work in the locker room.  

(And I'm not picking your towels up for you either.)


Dear Patty,

Happy Birthday, my friend!  I'll be drinking a toast to you this evening!


Enjoy your weekend!

Friday Mailbag

It's time, once again, to reach into the Friday mailbag!


Dear Winter:

I figured you'd show up.  Eventually.  You were just hiding from us, in that sometimes-coy way of yours.  I'm okay with you being here.  Really.  Just make sure you leave town before March.  Okay?


Dear Woman at D&W:

You looked so cold on Monday, there in the deli section, with your too-light North Face waterproof shell pulled over your hoodie.  And those Hunter waterproof boots.  I think you were visibly shivering.  (It was only 12ºF, after all.)  But when you approached me and asked, "Are those lined leggings?" my heart warmed.  "Yes," I answered.  And then, with a hopeful whimper, you asked, "Did you buy them locally?  I just moved here from San Diego.  And I'm cold."  And my heart melted altogether.  I explained where I had bought my super-warm, lined leggings.  And then, when you reached out to touch my full length down coat, I told you where I got that, too.  I forgot to mention the boots, though.  You really need some lined winter boots . . . (Welcome to Michigan, by the way.)


Dear Alabama Chanin:

I hope you'll understand, but I need to stop seeing you.  It was bad enough when I visited your website and you dangled that Build-a-Wardrobe plan in front of me.  But now, you're even sending me email promotions.  And utilizing social media.  All with a single-minded purpose:  To tease me with your oh-so-tantalizing Build-a-Wardrobe program.  Oh, you don't care that I want you so badly, do you?  So. Badly.  In fact, I'm sure that's your strategy.  But I will be strong.  I will look away.  I will give us some space.  Because you are out of my league.


Dear January People:

I try hard to like you.  Really I do.  I try to hard to embrace you and your New Year's resolutions.  But it's so hard.  Because there are so many of you.  And because you seem to be in the way of all the things I do for twelve months of the year.  I will not be lying when I say . . . good riddance . . . to those of you with not quite enough resolve to last longer than February.


Happy weekend!

Friday Mailbag



Dear New Guy:

I'm really happy you decided to try yoga (because I think everyone should do yoga).  But here's the deal. Because you plopped down right next to me (too close, actually) at Power Yoga last Monday morning, I could hear the instructor's welcoming conversation with you.  I heard you tell her, "No, I have never tried yoga before."  I heard her explain that ". . . all levels are welcome in Power Yoga, but beginners tend to find some of the poses intense and a little intimidating."  Further, I heard her tell you, "I will give options for each pose.  Feel free to move into whatever pose is comfortable for you, but you may feel more comfortable with the beginning levels at first."  She also said, clearly, "Please go to the wall for support during the balance poses until you're sure of your balance."

Dude.  I really wished you'd listened to her!  It was distracting to listen to your audible grunts and see (out of the corner of my eye) your flailing helicopter arms.  If only you'd taken the instructor's advice and just stuck with the introductory levels of poses, maybe you wouldn't have been sweating as if we were in hot yoga.  (We weren't.)  And, really.  When you nearly toppled into me during your ill-advised attempt at tree pose, I'd had it.  (Dude.  The wall.  Remember?)

I started wishing not-very-namaste thoughts in your direction.  Although I hope you'll be back to try again (because yoga - practiced at the right level - would be great for you) , I'm kind of betting you won't be.  Because it didn't look like you were having any fun.  No worries if you do come back, though!  I'll make sure to move my mat far away from your helicoptering NEXT week.


Dear Self:

For the record, just remember that planting bulbs isn't really that bad.


Dear Woman in Spinning:

Yeah.  I saw you back there.  Texting while spinning.  That's pretty dangerous, you know?  That's why no cell phones are allowed in class.  You were hiding in the back, but I could see you in the mirror.  It would have been sort of funny (in that schadenfreude kind of way) if you'd actually fallen off your bike.  It was close there . . . the way you slipped to the side awkwardly.  But you managed to catch yourself.  Good for you -- but I saw you anyway.


To Whom It May Concern:

Yes, you made a reasonable suggestion.  But.  Frozen leftover Halloween candy is JUST as easy to eat as regular Halloween candy.  (Just sayin.)


Happy weekend!

Friday Mailbag

On Wednesday this week, my Mom and I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden as part of a day-long bus trip out of Kalamazoo.  It was an awesome experience -- even though it was very cold.  (Like . . . near freezing.  Garden staff were covering the freshly planted annuals with plastic at the end of the day.)  I'll share more about the gardens next week, after I have a chance to sort through my photos.

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In the meantime . . . I have a few letters to catch up on.

Dear Fellow Bus Trippers:

Yes.  It was very cold.  Yes.  The Chicago Botanic Gardens are OUTSIDE.  (Gardens?  Get it?)  Yes.  You will be uncomfortable if you wear flip-flops, capri pants, and a jeans jacket on a day that is predicted to be 40ºF.  With maybe rain.  And a good breeze. But, y'know . . . You made a reservation for the trip.  You paid $130.  I assume . . . you are interested in gardens.  And the weather forecast, disappointing as it was, was NO surprise.  I'm glad you were able to find comfort and warmth.  On the bus.  For 5 hours.  While I enjoyed the Chicago Botanic Gardens with my Mom . . . pretty much all to ourselves.  We had a great time.  I'm sorry that you . . . did not.


Dear Lisa-the-Awesome-Vegetable-Gardening-Honcho:

Your vegetable gardens are awesome.  Your walking tour of the fruit and vegetable gardens of the Chicago Botanic Gardens was awesome.  (I wish I could come on Saturdays to your garden cooking demonstrations.)  (So much.)  (Because I'm certain they would be awesome.)  Your passion for growing food was just . . . well . . . awesome!

P.S.  I'm really sorry so many of our group were sour and stinky about how cold they were.  (They were the ones in flip-flops and light spring jackets.)


Dear (Cold) Guy We Met on the Trail of the Waterfall Garden:

It DID feel like we were in another world altogether, didn't it?  I agree with you -- so beautiful, and SO worth stepping out in the cold!


Dear Trouble-Maker on My Bus:

I know just who you were in high school.  You were the Mean Girl.  The Leader of the Pack.  The Queen Bitch.  You may be very used to getting what you want.  And you may think that you can coerce all the rest of the Bus Trippers into demanding an early and immediate departure because it is just too cold to visit an outside garden.  (Especially in your stylin' flip-flops and capris.)  (And your little cheetah-print cardi.)  (And your half-hearted attempt at a scarf.)  Anyway.  I came for the day, thankyouverymuch.  I have been looking forward to seeing these gardens for a very long time.  And I paid attention to the weather forecast and wore layers, hand-knits, AND my down jacket.  (Much as I'd have liked to leave it packed away for the season.)  I will not be denied my time in the Japanese Gardens.  I will see the Model Railroad Garden.  I will take my time in the English Walled Garden.  I will enjoy the gift shop, and maybe even a leisurely cup of tea in the cafe.  You can take your flip-flops and sit on the bus.  You aren't the boss of me.  So there.

PS - That scarf . . . wrapped around your head like that . . . looks really stupid.  Just sayin.


Happy Friday!!!


Friday Mailbag

They say . . . it takes a village . . . 


Dear Kathy-the-Physical-Therapist,

Thank you for sticking with me a couple of weeks back.  You know.  When I was having a Bad Attitude.  That day when I kind of spoke harshly about your 1-10 pain scale?  And when I sort of screamed at you that, "no one else can independently move their big toe sideways and hold it there, so why should I???"  I'm sort of thinking that maybe you enjoyed getting that NMES zapper-thing out and hooking my foot up to those electrodes.  (I could see the evil glint in your eyes as you dialed up the shocks.) But, you know what?  IT WORKED!  That electro-shock gizmo woke up my lazy adductor hallucis muscle.  I can now move my big toe sideways and hold it there!  My arches are not collapsing.  My peroneal tendon is not doing all the heavy lifting anymore.  And it feels so much better.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (But I'm still not cooperating when it comes to the pain scale.)

Dear Yvonne-the-Sports-Medicine-Running-Specialist,

You sure know how to make a girl feel like a world-class athlete, setting me up on that treadmill and filming me from every angle while I was running and all.  I hope you'll forgive my outburst of laughter when you showed me the first playback on your computer.  Because . . . in super-duper slo-mo, I look like a giant, stomping off to destroy a village.  Fee-fie-foe-fum!  (Really, I couldn't help but giggle.)  I settled down right away, though, and paid attention as you analyzed every aspect of my running style.  I didn't even complain when you made a major adjustment to my "land pattern," and I think I picked up on it pretty quickly, don't you?  And I'll totally work on opening my shoulders a bit more and engaging my core.  I only whimpered when you strongly suggested that, while I was ready to begin running again, I should start  . . . with the Couch-to-5K program.  At the very beginning.  Really?  Are you sure?


Dear Kathy-my-yoga-instructor,

Thank you for taking the time to give me all the foot stretches and strengthening exercises over the last several weeks.  They really, really helped.   Mostly, though, thank you for suggesting YogaToes.  I love them!  I think YogaToes are the primary reason I now have the world's strongest adductor hallucis muscle.  (Well, that and the electro-shock therapy.)  I will never stop paying attention to my feet again!

Dear Tom,

You'll notice a big improvement in attitude when you get home from Mumbai in May!  My ankle is better.  I'm not whining and complaining and moping around anymore.  I can dance and stand up on the spin bikes and walk the dogs.  I don't have to ice my ankle constantly (although I must admit, it was nice to have that excuse to just sit and read or knit . . . ).  And yesterday, I started the Couch-to-5K program again.  (Yeah.  I know.  They're making me.)  But I feel like myself again.

Dear Self,

Get over it.  Couch-to-5K is a great place to start again!  You're recovering from an injury.  And you're learning a whole new way to run.  Yeah.  It's a step backward.  But it's a HUGE step ahead of where you were yesterday.  (Which was just on the couch . . . )

Friday Mailbag


Dear Kathy-the-Physical-Therapist (I),

I'm not trying to be difficult.  Really.  I'm not.  I just can't with the quantifying-pain thing.  "From 0 -10, with 0 being no pain at all to 10 being the most pain possible, how much pain are you feeling today?"  I just can't.  Relative to what?  Compared to when?  When I'm walking? Standing? Attempting to run?  After you've put me through my paces?  Or when I first walked in the door?  That's just a stupid question.  In my opinion.  Could we move on to something productive now?  Like getting me moving again?


Dear Kathy-the-Physical-Therapist (II),

Okay.  You're on to something.  Definitely.  But please understand.  You've adjusted the way I stand.  You've engaged my "great toe" (this cracks me up so much . . . great toe).  You've got me focusing on raising my arch.  And the four-corners-of-my-foot.  And the not locking my knee.  You've stopped the hyper-extension in my toes.  You're correcting my pronation.  Now you want me to walk?  Are you kidding me?  


Dear Kathe-my-Yoga-Instructor,

I came to you discouraged.  Frustrated.  Fatigued.  With no confidence in my ability to stand.  Or balance.  Concentrating overmuch on my "great toe."  Worried about my ankle.  And whether I was supporting it correctly with my arch and my toe grip.  And then . . . you just said . . . you can do this.  And I could.  You were just what I needed!


Dear Unknown-as-Yet Drawing Instructor,

I have signed up for your class that begins next week.  Drawing I.  I just want to warn you:  I do my own thing.  Consider yourself advised.


Dear Pittsburgh:

Here I come!  Show me what you got.




Friday Mailbag


Dear Lone Little Crocus:

You are so brave.  Or maybe just an overachiever.  Also foolhardy.  You let the warm sun wake you up just a little bit earlier than the rest of your clan, and now, of course, it is quite cold again.  But thank you for shining your lovely little self in my garden.  And giving me hope for what is to come.


Dear Kathy-the-Physical-Therapist:

I'm sorry I cried in PT yesterday.  You must think I'm a total flake.  Let me explain myself.  At our first evaluation meeting, I was really kind of disappointed when you went on and on about my tendinitis problems being caused by the way I walk and the way I stand and the way I balance on one foot and the way my toes grip (or don't grip) quite right.  I mean, I've been dancing and balancing and walking and running all my life.  And pretty well, thankyouverymuch.  (Of course, not right now.  Because pain.)  But I decided to give your approach a try.  And yesterday, after doing the exercises you put me through on the balance-y ball ankle board, I started to think you might be on to something.  I could feel some muscles and tendons doing work that they hadn't done in a while.  And after those exercises, when you asked me to rise up on my toes on my bad foot (something I hadn't been able to do at all at the beginning of our session), I was a total skeptic.  But when I did it -- when I rose up on my toes without any pain (for the first time in 4 weeks) -- I cried.  Kathy, I am sold.  Bring it.


Dear Grammar Police:

Thank you for expanding your rather tight little universe of prepositions to include the much beloved because.  I have been a fan of the "prepositional-because" for a while now, so it's nice to know I won't be cited for linguistic misuse.  I love it when usage drives grammar, because evolution (baby).  (Although I will not give up the Oxford comma.)  (Because.)


Dear Fellow Members of a Dying Club:

If you keep doing things the way you've always done them, you'll keep getting the results you've always gotten.  And, lately?  Those results have not been good.  Just sayin.


Dear Blog Readers:

We had a wonderful time in Chicago, my Mom and I.  The Flower & Garden Show was . . . well . . . a breath of spring air!  (My Mom also had a make-over at Macy's, which was maybe more fun than the flower show.)  Anyway, you'll have to wait awhile to hear about it.  Because vacation.  (Tomorrow.)

Friday Mailbag


Dear Trusty Subaru Outback:

I just want to thank you for your faithful service thus far this winter.  Your all-wheel drive simply cannot be beat!  And I don't know what I'd do without your heated seats.  Even your back-up camera has proven useful as I negotiate the wall of snow at the end of my driveway (especially on garbage pick-up day).  But there's one thing I really want from you . . . that you just can't give me right now.  Yeah.  You know it, baby.  I want to open up your sunroof again!


Dear Achilles:

I am sorry that I didn't listen to you when you gave me early warning signs of your stress.  And I'm even sorrier that I tried to push you when I knew you were down.  I promise that I'll rest you for a few more days.  I'll apply ice regularly.  I'll keep doing my eccentric heel drops.  I'll even wear shoes in the house (even though it causes my entire being to shrivel just a little).  Is that good enough for you?  Can we move beyond this now?  


Dear Mark Torregrossa, MLive Chief Meteorologist:

Yeah, I saw your latest post over on MLive.  You said the words "hint of Spring" in your weather forecast.  I heard you.  You said "warming trend."  You mentioned "temperatures above the freezing mark."  I hope you're not just teasing, Mark.  Because I couldn't bear it.


Dear Mackinac Bridge Drivers:

I don't know how you do it.  The lakes are frozen over up there.  It's windy.  (Really windy.)  The snow is blowing hard.  The bridge is 5 miles long.  (A scary 5 miles in even the best of weather.)  Whenever I think the driving down here is bad, I'm just going to remember y'all . . . driving over that bridge . . . and be happy that I don't have to do it.


Have a great weekend, everyone!